Tom The Lawyer
Om's Roots Are Showing

Wi Apple?

Being that we're all speculating about iPhone let me ask this question? Wi Apple?

Sorry for the tongue in cheek headline and teasing journalist license, as this time the typo is INTENTIONAL.

The question in my mind is "why was Apple able to include Wi-Fi in their phone with Cingular/AT&T and companies like Nokia with the E62 and Samsung with the Blackjack forced to castrate the phones and sell them minus Wi-Fi?"

Did Apple cut a deal with Cingular that was "exclusive" or "primary" of "first to have?" If they did, it sure would explain a lot to many of us who just sit back and say things like "if Cingular only sold the E61...."

Candidly I'm biased because Nokia is a client, so let me step away from the above and go in this direction.

Have you ever wondered why the mobile carriers in the USA like Cingular and Verizon worked so hard to make WiFi so unimportant to their services mix? If you're a Mac user have you every wondered why Sprint made logging on to their WiFi networks so hard? (Did you ever try to log on at Sprint HotSpot with a Mac like at Oakland Airport without Internet Explorer?) It's only recently that Sprint has started to really make WiFi a factor and I'll contend that has more to do with WiMax and their Intel relationship versus because they believe in WiFi.

Then there's T-Mobile, which embraced WiFi but has no real mobile high speed wireless play (UMTS or HSPDA) yet so they don't count. Their embracing of Wi-Fi was purely an opportunistic buy when MobileStar went bankrupt, not by design.

When I compare things to say, Europe, where Vodafone, Orange, SFR, T-Mobile make such a big deal about Wi-Fi, tie it together with their data card marketing, allow you to buy Wi-Fi service via an SMS, I just sit back and wonder Wi?

No, what's interesting here is that it's okay for Apple to have Wi-Fi in their whateverPhone and not the more established players who already have distribution and a longer standing carrier relationship. It tells me there is more to this story, I just don't have the the facts (yet). And now with SBC/AT&T running Cingular, we may never know. Then again, we might as more Bell South and Cingular folks get the axe.

Side note: Jeff in his post questions why Apple, long a revolutionary, chose to be evolutionary. In my mind it's that he'd rather play and become a part of the mobile phone industry around the world than take on what is really like a cabal. Steve Jobs is smart enough to not take them on head to head. They could shut down his chances overnight. Instead he has so much to win by playing ball with them..like making iTunes the defacto standard for downloaded content by providing and end to end solution for sales, downloading and settlement.

With so much to win, Jobs and company can easily play it the carriers way. Unlike start up with big ideas, Apple can afford to wait.

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